How the Savior Treated Women
March 2023

“How the Savior Treated Women,” For the Strength of Youth, Mar. 2023.

How the Savior Treated Women

We can follow Jesus Christ’s example of showing kindness and respect to the women in our lives.

Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene

Illustrations by Rose Datoc Dall

In the New Testament, Jesus Christ often taught unexpected things. (As in: we’re supposed to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us?1)

Some of these teachings defied the culture of the time. But the Savior wasn’t trying to fit in. He was trying to teach a higher law and show us how to treat each other. He was setting an example of love that wasn’t limited to a particular age, gender, or nationality.

In Jesus’s time, women were generally treated as inferior. And in some cultures today, women are not commonly treated with respect. Perhaps you live in a place like that. If so, you can set a Christlike example for your community by being kind and respectful to everyone—including the girls and women in your life.

women at the time of Christ

Jesus Cared for His Mother

Jesus Christ’s first public miracle was one that helped His mother. She was responsible for helping to feed people at a wedding. When they ran out of drinks, Jesus turned water into wine so there was enough for the guests.

The wording of Jesus’s response to His mother in that conversation may sound harsh to our modern ears: “Woman, what have I to do with thee?” (John 2:4). But Joseph Smith clarified that Jesus was asking His mother what she needed: “Woman, what wilt thou have me to do for thee?”2. And calling someone “woman” back then was a title of respect. He was essentially saying, “My lady, whatever you ask me in faith, I will give it to you.”3

Fast forward about three years. Just before He died on the cross, one of the last things Jesus did was make sure His mother was taken care of.

“He saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home” (John 19:26–27).

Jesus Treated Outcast Women with Respect

We have at least two examples of the Savior treating women with respect who were shunned by society.

In the Savior’s time, most Jews looked down on the Samaritan people. But when Jesus Christ met a Samaritan woman at a well, He treated her with compassion and respect. More than that, it was while talking with her that He first revealed Himself to be the promised Savior!4 (See John 4.)

In another situation, a woman was caught in a serious sin. According to Jewish law, she would be stoned to death. When leaders brought this woman to the Savior, He made a statement that caused them to pause and think. They did not to stone her. Then the Savior invited her to repent, saying, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).

Jesus Appeared to Women after His Resurrection

After Jesus was resurrected, He first visited Mary Magdalene, who was mourning at His tomb (see John 20:11–18). Other women—Joanna, as well as Mary the mother of James—were among the first to know of the risen Lord. Angels invited them to share their testimonies of what they had seen. (See Luke 24:1–10.)

women at the time of Christ

We Can Follow His Example

What can we do to follow the Savior’s example of respect for women?

Our prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, has lots of practice in this area. He raised nine daughters and a son with his wife Dantzel. After she died, he married Wendy Nelson.

“We respect sisters—not only in our immediate families but all the wonderful sisters in our lives,” he taught.5

Let’s make this month one of courageous, Christlike love and kindness toward the women in our lives. You are powerful enough to change the world, one relationship at a time!